Practice-based assessment case studies from across the sector

cover_issue_46_en_USWe would like to bring to your attention the new Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal. This international peer-reviewed journal supports the work of RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement).  The first edition contains a special section on assessment and student engagement, including a collection of practice-based case studies from across the sector. These include articles on an extension to TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) methodology, innovative assessment practices, e-portfolios, problem-based learning and audio feedback, which we feel may be of interest.

To access these articles and more, see the first edition’s table of contents 


Introducing our new Graduate Interns


Left to right: Emily Cooper, Jack Sutherst, Sian Roughley, Nicole Warwick.

Our new Graduate Interns are now based in the faculties supporting the Faculty TEL Teams with staff training and development as the University makes the transition to online management of assessment.

We asked them to tell us a little about themselves, here’s what they had to say:

Siân Roughley – supporting D&S “I recently moved to Sheffield after graduating from University of Leeds with a degree in BA (Hons) German this summer, and originally come from Widnes, Cheshire.  As a recent graduate I’ve experienced the issues that come with assessment and feedback first hand from a student perspective and found it interesting how only a limited amount of academic staff utilised Blackboard fully. Hopefully in this role I can be part of improving the student experience by helping to provide consistency across all Blackboard module sites. I’m looking forward to gaining experience of working within the higher education sector, as well as acquiring knowledge about e-learning which I can continue to use throughout my career.”

Jack Sutherst supporting HWB “I studied Chemistry at Sheffield Hallam University and graduated in 2016, moving from my home town of Bury, Lancashire in 2013. I am looking forward to supporting developments in assessment processes across the University, especially in Health and Wellbeing. This role really interests me as it links with my final year project which investigated what students considered when choosing a University. I hope this experience will help me grow professionally and develop my knowledge of assessment processes and the new innovations available to academics.”

Nicole Warwick – supporting SBS “I graduated from The University of Sheffield in 2015 after studying BSc Human Communication Sciences. I’m excited to return to Sheffield from Rossendale (Lancashire), to enjoy the city alongside the beautiful Sheffield hills.I understand how beneficial online assessment will be for students and am looking forward to being part of the team implementing the changes. I’m particularly interested in helping teaching staff gain confidence with the variety of different types of online feedback.”

Emily Cooper – supporting ACES “I recently graduated from University of the West of England with a degree in Drama with Creative Writing. I grew up on my Grandparents’ farm outside Worcester, and moved to Sheffield this summer. I am still finding my way around the city, but have fallen in love with the Peaks! This role interested me as it’s a great opportunity to gain experience in the higher education environment and to work as part of a development team, with a focus on learning. I am excited about seeing improvements in the Faculty of ACES and helping to make the Assessment Journey Programme a success.”

New assessment resource for students

We are pleased to announce that a new resource ‘Assessment4Students’ is now available to provide students with guidance and support around assessment.

Over the last year, we’ve been consulting Hallam students through a series of workshops to ascertain student needs and requirements to improve understanding of the assessment process, and design preferences.

Students can now access the following content throughout the academic year:
– frequently asked questions about assessment
– how to develop their academic skills
– guidance on submitting work and sitting exams
– how to access marks and use feedback effectively
– how to provide feedback about your course
– University assessment regulations
– and much more

The resource will be widely promoted to students at the start of the academic year through direct email, Course Leader inductions, Blackboard, shuspace, helpdesk material, TV screens, desktop screensavers and social media.

We’d value your feedback – please contact us at ! Assessment Journey Programme

Changes to equipment provision for academic staff – implementation FAQs

The University recently announced changes to its Equipment Policy to facilitate mobile and flexible working, and to enable staff to adopt more efficient and effective online management of assessment and the provision of online feedback.

Please find below the answers to a series of pertinent questions which provide further clarity around how the implementation will be managed and the required actions.

How do I register my interest in replacing my desktop with a laptop?
An electronic form will be sent to all academic staff on 12 September to assess the demand for switching to laptops from desktop PCs and to ascertain how the device will be used for providing electronic feedback. The deadline for completion of the form will be 30 September when all responses will be collated and analysed.

Will all requests for laptops be fulfilled in 2016/17? And if not, how will requests be prioritised?
There is a significant number of laptops available to meet demand in the coming academic year 2016/17, however in the event that demand exceeds stock we may need to prioritise laptop requests. Laptop allocation will be discussed with faculties and informed by the age of equipment currently provided and user need for the delivery of online feedback. Further laptops will be made available for 2017/18 subject to demand.

How do I request a second or larger screen?
Desktop users can now request a second or larger screen via IT Help. The upper size limit is 27 inch. Laptop users will be provided with a docking station and a full size monitor, keyboard and mouse and may request a second or larger screen if required.

I need a non-standard laptop for my area of work. How will this request be handled?
Requests for non-standard equipment (Macs and high spec laptops or desktops) will still be subject to a business case. Requests should be submitted via IT Help.

The recent staff brief advised that a loan service for mobile devices such as iPads and other tablets is being developed. Is there any further information available about this?
It has been agreed that there will be a central loan service for equipment to support online management of assessment. Faculties are currently being consulted to understand their detailed requirements for the service i.e. the offer and the booking processes. Further details should be available in October.

Students at the heart of the Assessment Journey Programme

September is upon us and we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and starting to implement the new Policy for Summative Assessment to improve their assessment experience.

Student Benefits
Here’s a reminder of how students will benefit from the move to online management of assessment:

  • One clear process across all modules for submitting and receiving feedback on assessments
  • A better understanding and confidence in the assessment process through clearer assessment guidance
  • Reduction in printing costs and convenience of not having to travel or queue to hand in physical assignments (where coursework is suitable for online submission)
  • The ability to review own performance to inform personal and professional development through accessing marks and feedback in one location (My Grades in Blackboard)
  • Increased confidence through automatic proof of receipt for online submissions
  • Confidence of knowing work is stored electronically, securely and backed up
  • Improved clarity and understanding of feedback

Student Communications

All students will receive an email via SITS during the week commencing 19 September and should also be invited to an induction session run by their Course Leader (to include content on assessment). These communications aim to make students aware of the changes to student assessment from September 2016, and advise them on how the change will affect them and what support is available during the academic year.

A new online resource ‘Assessment4Students’ is now available to provide students with guidance and support around assessment. This will be widely promoted at the start of the academic year via the above communications, as well as a number of other channels – Blackboard, shuspace, helpdesk material, plasma screens, desktop screensavers and social media.